Freedom Rock project to be added to Vergas memorial

Contributed photo
A 2013 Freedom rock compilation produced by artist Ray “Bubba” Sorenson II. A similar production is coming to the Vergas Veterans Memorial later this year.

Art Instructor Molly Fairbanks’ seventh grade students at Frazee-Vergas High School are contributing to the Vergas Veterans Memorial’s upcoming Freedom Rock project with decorated stones of their own.

Photo by Robert Williams
Frazee-Vergas seventh grade students of Art Instructor Molly Fairbanks are contributing veteran-themed, painted stones to complement both the memorial and the upcoming Freedom Rock project later this year.

The class first donated art to the memorial two years ago and Vergas Veterans founding committee representative Lyle Krieg approached Fairbanks when the memorial was in need of more décor.

“They were all awesome,” said Krieg. “It’s great to see the students getting involved.”

Word got around from the first project to this year’s and seeing what the students created prompted other kids to get involved.

“What was really cool, I thought, was that some of the other students saw what they were doing and what they were doing it for and asked if they could be involved,” said Krieg.

The decorated rocks and stones will not only complement the memorial, but will also add to the upcoming Freedom Rock project by Iowa artist Ray “Bubba” Sorenson II.

The large boulder Sorenson will be painting has been in place at the Vergas memorial since last fall and he is scheduled to be in the area later this year to complete his painting.

The Freedom Rock project began in 1999 with a large boulder located in rural Iowa that is repainted every year with a different Thank You for our nation’s Veterans to honor their service to our country.  

Sorensen II was inspired by the movie Saving Private Ryan and wanted to give veterans a unique recognition on Memorial Day.

“My painting career was sparked to life by my need to say thank you to those who serve our country. Honoring those who’ve stood ready to defend our nation has long been an inspiration in my work,” Sorenson said.

While painting murals across the country, Sorensen had the idea of spreading the message of The Freedom Rock to other small communities across Iowa. He traveled the state of Iowa over the past decade and put a a Freedom Rock in each county. There is now a Freedom Rock in every one of Iowa’s 99 counties, including the 100th in Altoona, Iowa. 

Since then, Sorenson has started the 50 State Freedom Rock Tour and is now booking across the country. For more information, visit